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Gaming PC around 1500$

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June 25, 2010 5:37:28 PM

Hello everyone


Next week I'm going to buy a new system. I've been reading some articles, viewing some benchmarkes, etc... I'm looking for a quality gaming pc that will last a 3-5 years. Budget: around 1500$

I would like to be able to play all recent and upcoming games at high detail, Starcraft 2, Deus Ex 3, ..

Here are my picks, feel free to criticise them and please tell me why I should make another choice:
*CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
*CPU cooler: Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B SCMG-2100
*Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5
*Memory: Kingston HyperX 8 GB DDR3-1333 Quad-Kit CL7 7-7-20
*Graphics Card: Sapphire HD5850 TOXIC 1GB
*Case: Cooler Master Storm Sniper Black Edition
*Power Supply: Bequiet Dark Power Pro 900W
*Harddisk: Western Digital WD1002FAEX (4,2ms/64mb cache/7200 rpm) 1TB

At the end of the year, I would buy a second HD5850 and Crossfire 'em. Also I might drop my Phenom II X4 for a stronger X6, considering AMD has developped some stronger X6 cpu's by then

So tell me, what's a crappy pick, what's overkill, etc..

All comments are welcome!
Thanks in advance

More about : gaming 1500

June 25, 2010 5:58:15 PM

That's not a great build. First, 8 GB is complete overkill for a gaming build. You don't need more than 4. Second, the RAM is slow, especially for overclocking. Third, the 5850 is not in line with the budget. Fourth, the Storm series is generally overpriced (IMO). Fifth, the 965 is more expensive than the exact same (except a factory overclock) as the 955. Sixth, the 8xx chipsets are generally not worth the premium, as you're paying to be able to drop in a X6 (which isn't good for gaming) without a BIOS upgrade (which is free). Seventh, that PSU is a POS. Finally, that HDD is going to be slower than other, cheaper models.

Here's a much, much better $1,500 build:

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $345
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
GPU: HD 5970 $700
PSU: Corsair 850W $120 after rebate
HDD: Samung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $30 (or the one you've choosen)

Total: $1,485
June 26, 2010 6:27:19 AM

Thanks for your advice.
But I thought the AMD X4 965 was the best one available right now for AMD. And it's pretty cheap.
The HD 5970 costs around $850 where I live. I'm from Belgium you know :p 

That's why I would buy a HD 5850 and try to crossfire em later on, that should give me all the graphical possibilities I need, but as you said, it needs a more expensive motherboard.

I'll definitely think about it.

Any more advice?
Related resources
June 26, 2010 4:36:03 PM

The 965 is only a factory overclocked version of the 955. There is absolutely no reason to pay more for it.

I'd look at the 5870 instead of the 5850, unless the price difference is huge. The 5870 will last by itself for a while longer. As for Crossfire needing an expensive board, that's not true at all. The board above would be an excellent one for Crossfire if you go with the i5. If you stay with AMD, take a look at the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4. It's fairly cheap (at least over here) and is an excellent board.
June 27, 2010 12:06:21 PM

Great advice once again madadmiral. Helped with my build as well.
June 27, 2010 12:44:35 PM

the only 7xx board anyone should possibly buy is the one he suggested. however, this board is a decent alternative:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i know ur from belgium, so you cant buy it from newegg, however it has sata 6 and usb 3, 2 pci 2.0 slots running at either x16, or x8x8, which is very good for xfire. everything else in MadAdmirals build looks good to me, although the case, its good, but there are some just as good alternatives with just as many or more features and cooling, and maybe a bit more aesthetically pleasing :lol:  like the nzxt tempest evo.
June 27, 2010 7:01:52 PM

The only problem I have with that board is that it's from ASRock. That's a budget brand, and just isn't as high quality as ones from Asus and Gigabyte. It would work, it just might not last as long as others.
June 27, 2010 9:33:37 PM

ehhh, asrock has a bad name, ive used them, and they have outlasted my gigabyte. main reason i used that one is due to x16, or x8 x8, the only 870 that can.
June 28, 2010 9:46:39 AM

I'm working on a new build considering your help. But I'm just wondering, why should I take the P7P55D-E PRO instead of the P7P55D-E? The last one is much cheaper. The only difference I found was the ability for quad gpu, but I'll probably pick one HD5870 and maybe buy a second one later. Any suggestions?
June 28, 2010 12:12:11 PM

I'll point out that neither of those supports quad GPUs. They both only have two PCIe 2.0 slots.

The difference is that the P7P55D-E's second PCIe 2.0 16x slot only runs at 4x. A slot that runs that slow means that you can't really use it for Crossfire. Adding the second will bottleneck the cards so much that you won't see any performance gain. The Pro version's second PCIe 2.0 slot runs at 8x, which is basically normal speed.

Since you want to add a second GPU later, you definitely want to get the Pro version.
June 28, 2010 8:45:43 PM

Ok. Thanks again for your help.
This is what my build looks like right now. I would like to buy my system at the end of this week.

COOLERMASTER HAF 922 € 91,00 $111,71
INTEL CORE I5-750 2.66GHZ € 223,00 $273,75
ASUS P7P55D-E EVO € 242,00 $297,08
GeIL 4 GB DDR3-1600 Kit (Retail) 7-7-7 € 165,00 $202,55
SAPPHIRE RADEON HD 5870 € 422,00 $518,05
CORSAIR TX850W € 140,00 $171,86
SAMSUNG HD103SJ € 81,00 $99,44
Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B SCMG-2100 € 39,00 $47,88
SAMSUNG S223C 22X SATA BLACK OEM € 26,00 $31,92

TOTAL € 1.429,00 $1.754,24
<<< I would like to buy around 1300-1500 EUR

A few more questions:
-RAM: G.SKILL doesn't seem to be available in Belgium. Can't find a single shop that delivers G.SKILL memory. What's the best alternative?
-GPU: I still find it pretty tough to choose between the hd 5850 and the hd 5870. I'm probably going to buy a 2nd GPU at the end of this year to Crossfire them. 2x hd 5870 seems like overkill. But will one hd 5850 last till the end of the year, being able to play all upcoming games on high quality?
-motherboard: This ASUS P7P55D-E EVO seems to be the only one available in my shop. Pretty expensive board. Should I go for this one or buy the PRO from another shop?

Another idea: Buy the cheap Asus P7P55D-E and stick with one hd 5870. In that case I'll definitely buy the 5870 instead of 5850.
June 28, 2010 11:19:19 PM

Any RAM brand would be fine, with the only exception being OCZ. OCZ has had many problems with their sticks being incompatible with many different motherboards, especially in Intel builds.

The 5850 can play most games at 1080p with max details. There are a few that it struggles with. The 5870 can play everything at max details. Also, Crossfire is much better the longer you can wait to upgrade. I typically say it would be 2-3 years before you'd need to Crossfire the 5850, and 4-5 before you'd need to Crossfire the 5870.

I'd stick with the Pro version. That board is one of the best (if not the best) P55 board. The non-Pro version wouldn't handle Crossfire, so I'd really not bother with it.

ON thing I would change is the PSU. The one you choose is an excellent unit, but you won't need 850W. Drop that to a 750W and save some money. Also, check out units from Antec, Silverstone and SeaSonic and get the cheapest one in this group. They're all high quality and basically interchangeable.
June 28, 2010 11:31:58 PM

Thank you very much MadAdmiral. You've been a great help.
I'll go for the HD 5870 and a 750W PSU.

The only big decision that remains now is the one between AMD and Intel.

Option 1:
Intel I5-750
Asus P7P55D-E PRO

Option 2:
AMD Phenom X4 965
Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H
June 29, 2010 1:17:27 AM

personally, id go with a 955 and a better am3 890fx mobo. the 750 will beat that, but not by a large margin, and it costs more. the am3 build will also be more future proof.
June 29, 2010 9:47:06 AM

What do you mean with "more future proof"?
I guess that must be the ability of squeezing in a six-core CPU later on?
June 29, 2010 12:16:01 PM

That's pretty much it. Intel is already moving away from the LGA1156 socket. Supposedly next year they're coming out with two new sockets (LGA1155 and LGA1365), so it's not likely that you'll see any new CPUs for the current sockets.

I don't recommend getting an 8xx board simply because you don't get anything for the extra cost. The only thing the 8xx chipsets give you is the ability to drop in the current six core CPUs without a BIOS upgrade, which you can do yourself for free. Considering that you'll likely need to do a BIOS upgrade later to support the new CPUs released later on, it just doesn't make any sense.

I recommend getting the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4. It's fairly cheap, but it's high quality and packed with features.
June 29, 2010 12:37:21 PM

well, theres nothing wrong with the 8xx series. if you get the right boards, its no more expensive than the 7xx series:

FX:

8xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GX:

8xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G:

8xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

x70:

8xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7xx: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


those are all the major chipsets, and for the most part, the 8xx ones are the same price, or cheaper with mir. the 7xx series with integrated graphics use the 4200, while the 8xx series with integrated uses 4250, and 4290, which, lets not kid ourselves, isnt like putting a dedicated in, but it is still an improvement. all 8xx series have sata 6 and usb 3, while only some 7xx do. those arent terribly useful yet, but its still good to have for the future. also, the 8xx series are better at unlocking and overclocking amd cpus, from what i have seen. the need for no bios update is ok i guess, nothing major, but for the price, 8xx is the way to go. btw, these boards arent the cheapest or most expensive from each one, they are the ones with the closest features.
June 29, 2010 12:46:09 PM

also, for the most part, if u are buying from newegg, the 8xx series has more, and more useful combo deals, saving money in the long run.
June 29, 2010 1:40:37 PM

That's only true because you picked lower quality brands. A MSI board and a Gigabyte board aren't equivalent. Also, you just happened to pick the most expensive 7xx boards you could find. for the main chipsets.

For the 790FX, the most you should spend is the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 ($84 after rebate and promo code).

The only times I'd actually recommend a 8xx chipset is if you're primarily using the onboard graphics or starting with a X6 (which isn't recommended).
June 29, 2010 1:46:01 PM

your right, msi and gigabyte arent equivalent, if u ask me (ive used plenty of both) the MSI ones are far superior. and a lot of times it ended up being one of the more expensive 7xx boards, but i was doing it by features, not price range. and they 790x board is good, but it isnt in the 790fx category. that 790x board is the ONLY 7xx board id recommend to buy, atleast if, or until theres a 890x.
June 29, 2010 8:58:36 PM

So, let's get things straight.

Option 1:
Intel I5-750
Asus P7P55D-E PRO
--> This is the best choice at the moment. Better performance in apps, slightly better for games, but also slightly more expensive.

Option 2:
AMD Phenom X4 965
Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 or ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3
--> Performance is a little less in games, but it's cheaper and I will be able to swap my quad core for a six core in the future.

Tough decision imo. Hoping my current choice will last about 2-3 years, I think i might choose for the best performance at the moment (Intel). In 3 years, I could easily buy a new mobo with a (hopefully) 8 core CPU and buy a 2nd HD 5870 for crossfire.

What do you think?
Final suggestions are still welcome, cause I'm looking forward to making my order tomorrow or the day after.
June 29, 2010 9:02:56 PM

Either way you go, it will last for at least 2-3 years.

I'd personally go with AMD because you wouldn't need to buy a new board. You're also forgetting that a new board often means new RAM, and possibly other parts (case if the standard size changes, HSF, etc.). Once you're replacing the board, you might as well be replacing everything...
June 29, 2010 9:19:30 PM

One last thing.

I've noticed the renewed GTX 470 from Nvidia offers better performance than the HD 5870? Over here in Belgium it also seems to be cheaper..

422 EUR for the HD 5870
409 EUR for the GTX 470

How about that?
June 29, 2010 9:45:03 PM

The 470 doesn't have better performance than the 5870. It's less. Also, you have to factor in the fact that the 470 uses a lot more power (like double the 5870) and produces a lot of heat. You'll want a 850-1000W PSU if you want to SLI it later.

All in all, the 470 isn't a good choice.
June 29, 2010 9:48:01 PM

Thanks again MadAdmiral.

So this is what my build looks like atm:

COOLERMASTER HAF 922 € 91,00
AMD PHENOM II X4 965 € 208,00
DDR3 HX 4GB 1600 (8-8-8) XMP 2K € 143,00
SAPPHIRE RADEON HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E DP DUAL DVI-I HDMI D € 422,00
SILVERSTONE ST75 € 121,00
SAMSUNG HD103SJ € 81,00
Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B SCMG-2100 € 39,00
SAMSUNG S223C 22X SATA BLACK OEM € 26,00

The only point of discussion remains my mobo:
ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 € 195,00
vs
GIGABYTE GA-890FXA-UD5 € 213,00
vs
Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 (have to e-mail to shop to know the price, but I guess it'll be around € 160,00)
June 29, 2010 10:00:14 PM

I'd save a little and switch the CPU to the X4 955. The 965 is just a factory overclocked 955, so you shouldn't bother paying them extra to do something for you that you can do yourself.

Other than that, it looks great.
June 29, 2010 10:00:30 PM

id get a 955 and a msi 890fx gd70
June 29, 2010 10:04:21 PM

Yeah, I know about the factory overclock. It's just that I don't really have any experience with overclocking. So buying the factory overclock seems "safer".

What exactly does it take to overclock the 955? All I gotta do is change some settings in the BIOS?
June 30, 2010 1:58:31 AM

That's basically it. You change some things in the BIOS. It's not really complicated until you try pushing it to the limit. To reach the 965 speeds, you'd have to change a single setting in BIOS, and you likely won't even need an aftermarket HSF for it.
July 2, 2010 9:40:19 AM

Thanks a lot guys, I placed my order.
Wouldn't have done it without your help, so thank you very much.

Now let's hope it won't be overkill for Rollercoaster Tycoon ... ;) 
July 2, 2010 1:52:57 PM

roller coaster tycoon will be afraid to go in the dvd drive. :lol: 
!